Aspen Birth Center Blog

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Celebrate World Breastfeeding Month!

August 11, 2015
August is World Breastfeeding Month and a time when the world celebrates breastfeeding and builds awareness and support. This year the  theme is Breastfeeding and Work: "Let’s Make It Work" which aims to empower and support all women to successfully balance work and child-rearing, an important part of which is breastfeeding.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests breastfeeding for at least one year due to numerous health benefits to mom and baby. Studies show that breastfed infants are less likely to develop ear infections, respiratory illnesses, diabetes, some childhood cancers and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and less likely to become obese later in life and compared to formula fed infants. However, returning to work is a significant barrier to breastfeeding, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, who in a 2011 Call to Action noted that lack of breastfeeding support in the workplace leads moms to premature weaning. “Breast milk provides the best possible nutrition for an infant and the numerous health benefits improve when a baby is only fed breast milk and the length of time increases beyond six months of age. Workplaces that accommodate breastfeeding mothers help support moms to avoid using formula and continue breastfeeding for a longer time.” said Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment breastfeeding specialist Stacy Miller.
Colorado Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has been providing breastfeeding education and support in Colorado for the last 40 years. WIC supports low-income breastfeeding mothers by providing highly nutritious food packages purchased at participating grocery stores with WIC checks, free access to breastfeeding information and counseling, breast pumps, community resources and referrals, and Breastfeeding Peer Counselors. WIC dietitians, nurses and educators provide information to mothers on how to be successful with breastfeeding immediately after birth and help breastfeeding mothers find support at home, work and in their communities. Additionally, WIC informs mothers of their right to breastfeed in public and laws that mandate workplace accommodation for nursing mothers. WIC regularly engages and encourages employers in their communities to accommodate and support breastfeeding mothers by explaining state laws and employer benefits, and providing local and national resources to aid in accommodation. 
Colorado’s Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act requires Colorado employers to provide employees with "reasonable unpaid break time" to express breast milk or permission to use paid break time and/or meal time to express breast milk. “Many employers are not aware that Colorado law preempts federal law and requires employers with one or more employees to provide breastfeeding accommodations and break time for two years after the birth of the baby,” said Miller. Women need to express milk about every 3 hours, or two to three times during a typical work day. According to the law, employers must make “reasonable efforts" to provide a private place, which is not a bathroom, for an employee to express milk. If a small room cannot be temporarily designated, there are many creative options to comply with the law.
Is it worth it for the employer? Investing in a worksite lactation support program can yield substantial benefits for a business. Being family-friendly brings a business a 3:1 Return on Investment through lower health care costs, lower employee absenteeism rates (due to healthier moms, dads and babies), lower turnover rates, and higher employee productivity and loyalty. A positive, accepting attitude from management, supervisors, and coworkers helps breastfeeding employees feel confident in their ability to continue working while breastfeeding.
World Breastfeeding Month is a great time for employers to highlight the support they provide to families by sharing with all employees their lactation support policy and the business advantages a lactation program brings to the organization to utilize the valuable breastfeeding information and resources available: Heather Knott, RN-IBCL
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The 10th Breastfeeding Commandment...throw out 1-9...

September 12, 2014
As a Registered Nurse, Childbirth Educator, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and mother of two breastfed infants...I would like to share with you my strong desire and commitment to provide education to new families throughout our local communities. If anyone was to describe me in my role at Aspen Birth Center, I believe they would include a fair description about my "passion" for helping new families, especially when it comes to learning about breastfeeding.   

Now, no pun intended, but tongue-in-cheek mythological articles like "The 10 Breastfeeding Commandments" and "How to Breastfeed the Right Way" are creatures that I personally wish were extinct.  Although, I am sure the intent is to help new mothers, these fictitious examples really have no place in the environment of supporting breastfeeding, and seem only to put strong and highly intelligent women in the position of feeling like they are doing a less than adequate job. Articles such as these truly lend very little support, and it is my advice to steer clear of such beasts. For real questions with real human support, I implore you to seek out the not so rare "breed" of a certified lactation consultant, available at Aspen Valley Hospital. Call (970) 544-1251 for questions or appointments.  

The choice to breastfeed is usually very personal and should be made, surrounding your own unique experiences and knowledge gained from information that examines the benefits, based upon current evidence and research. Certainly, not because of anyone else's desire for you to "do the right thing".  I would suspect you can figure out what the "right thing" is, for your family-all on your own.

For the information seekers in the group, I can share the health benefits for mom and baby, outlined by The American Academy of Pediatrics. I can tell you about how our Nation's health leaders, such as the United States Breastfeeding Committee, have been in support of implementing legislation since 2008, in order to advocate protection, promotion and support for the breastfeeding mother in the workplace.  I should mention that the U.S. Surgeon General has notified our nation of their "Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding" in 2011. Promotion of breastfeeding and goals set for improvement have been outlined by our government in the Healthy People 2020 objectives as another resource to peruse if one wants more convincing data? I could go on a bit further, but instead, will close by assuring you that I will be committed to helping you achieve success within the parameter of the decisions you make for your family.
Posted by Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC
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